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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode 5 of the No Sugar Show is here and today we are talking content pillars. Give the episode a listen, or read the full article below!

Content, content, content… In marketing, we’re always talking about friggin’ content. No matter the TYPE of marketing you’re doing, there’s a heavy emphasis on the content you’re creating. Content for social media, content for email marketing, content for digital ads, content for your podcast, content for blog. There’s SO much content. I’ll be talking about beating content overwhelm in a future article, but today, I want to focus on PLANNING CONTENT! 🎉

If that made you almost throw up a little, I promise this won’t be that mind-numbing… or maybe it will, but I’m really going to try to make this as painless as possible.

Getting Your Content Strategically Organized 

When it comes to content, I like to take a niceeeee and simple approach. I start by creating content pillars.

So, WTF is a content pillar?

My darling, I’m SO glad you asked. Your content pillars are the foundation of your business, they are what your content marketing strategy stands on… your pillars are the wind beneath your contents’ wings. 

Content pillars are the main tools I use to organize, plan, and create content. I split content pillars into two specific categories:

  • Core 
  • Perimeter 

Core Content Pillars

Your core content pillars are preetttttyyyyy much exactly what they sound like. These are the core areas, topics, categories, etc. that every piece of content you create will fall into. When I say every, I truly mean every. If you’re creating a piece of content that DOESN’T fall into one of these areas, consider how you can tie it into one. If you just cannot possibly do that, think about what the purpose for that piece of content is, and then ask yourself if it’s providing value to your audience. If it’s not, nix that shit. 

Establishing Your Core Content Pillars

For every business, your core content pillars will be different, the number may also be different as well. I recommend choosing between 3-5 core content pillars. Here are some examples of what that might look like. 

My biz – No Sugar Marketing

  • Organic social media
  • Paid social media
  • Content & copywriting
  • Full flow marketing

Beauty Biz

  • Skin care
  • Sunless tanning
  • Lashes 
  • Nails
  • Hair

Interior Designer

  • Styling 
  • Colors 
  • Textures
  • Design
  • Installment
  • Project management

Are you seeing a theme here?

Your content pillars should be a reflection of your core competencies or areas of expertise. These are the things you already rock and own like a B-0-S-S. 

Perimeter Content Pillars

Now that you’ve got your core pillars down, let’s take a look at your perimeter pillars. While equally important, perimeter content pillars function sort of like subsets of the core pillars. They are essentially a way of organizing, brainstorming, and planning out your core pillars. Like your core pillars, I recommend having 3-5 perimeter pillars. Here are some examples of what that might look like. Your core pillars can be on the general side, but go niche with your perimeter pillars (more on why below). 

My biz – No Sugar Marketing

  • Kindness 
  • Communication
  • Simplicity

Beauty Biz

  • Quality
  • Care & maintenance 
  • Inspiration 
  • Education
  • Spunk

Interior Designer 

  • Inspiration
  • Education 
  • Family 
  • Entertaining
  • Events

But What’s the Point of These Dang Pillars?

Now THIS is the fun part. Once you’ve established your core and perimeter pillars, use these to plan your content. To do so, I use this handy little formula:

Core + Perimeter + Concept Breakdown = New Piece of Content 

Let’s see this bad beezie in action. 

Content + Simplicity + Planning Your Content = THIS FRIGGIN ARTICLE (Content Pillars Explained)

In the above example, “planning your content” could refer to multiple things, so here’s what I do. I pick a concept (planning your content) and list out all the elements I can think of that go into this, eg. organizing content, content pillars, choosing your content format, repurposing your content, sharing your content, scheduling your content, drafting your content, creating multi-media for your content, tools to help with content, etc. Suddenly, I have about 3 zillion new content ideas. 🙌

Why is This Even Important When I can Just Brainstorm Like a Normal Human?

The reason I find this method of organizing and planning your content so dang efficient and effective is because it weaves in your marketing, branding, and messaging strategies. You sneaky little seamstress, you. 

Using this method, you become the go to for your special sauce. And your special sauce is one of the reasons people want to work with you.

Also, raise your hand if you hate the term “special sauce.”

Think about your big picture core pillars first. These are the things you are ALWAYS talking about. When people in your sphere think of those topics, you are likely one of the people that come to mind.

BUT, your perimeter pillars become your points of differentiation. For example, one of mine is simplicity. When you think of content planning, I’d be delighted if you thought of me, but there’s about a zillion people in internet land who talk about the same subject. BUT, if you think about how to make content planning simple, that list becomes much more narrow. 

Do you want to be the person people think of for a specific topic?

Then it’s important to embed those subjects into your marketing strategy as a whole. Using the formula above, you ensure your content plan stays on message, on brand, and on friggin’ point.💥

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